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Haydn

The Palace Cinema

Saturday morning pictures was without doubt the highlight of the week for every boy I knew in my area. I anxiously waited for mum or dad to give me my two bob pocket money. Then it was on with the coat and a quick sprint up to the bus stop on Bryngwyn Road and hope the Jones' bus hadnt already gone. Safely on the bus and the excitement started to build...the stop should have been at the Cottonwood but Commercial Street was so narrow that the bus often slowed to a crawl approaching the Midland Bank building and we kids would just jump off. The fare then was about 4d each way I think.
Getting in the cinema was one of two ways, either we all paid or one would pay and the others would run round the block to the far end of Carmel Street and the junction of King Street and wait while the one who paid would sneak down the left side of the cinema and open the fire exit door to let us in! No alarms in those days!!
Once ensconsed in our, as near the front as possible, seats we would then be transported into the fantasy worlds of Rocketman, the Lone Ranger or whoever was the hero of the day.
At the interval I was one of 3 or 4 Boys who would get up on stage and mime to Beatles hits. The boy who always played the drum (he only had one in those days) was Alwyn Cuff. About 20 years ago I was home on holiday and my nephew took me in to the working mens club where my grandad was a regular and who was on stage in a 2 piece band....Cuffy! and still playing the drums!!
We got free tickets for our performance on the stage of the Palace which meant that on the way home I could buy a potato pattie with my 4 pennorth worth of chips!
By the time I was old enough to go to the cinema only 2 of Abertillery's 4 cinemas were in operation the Palace and the one down on Bridge Street. My sister and auntie Pamela went there once to see a horror film and during the movie they both felt something run over their feet? Being built over the Fach there were obviously rats in there having a good life eating the fallen popcorn!!
Recently I had to take some friends children to our local multiplex. 12 screens, more sweets than Woolies pick'n'mix and you need a second mortgage to afford anything!! How I miss the Palace in the 60's.
wilf

I can remember attending penny pictures at The Palace cinema in the 1930,s.   Always a queue of youngsters outside waiting to gain admission.   We always saw a cowboy film, Tom Mix, Buck Jones, or Hoot Gibson, a serial where the hero would be tied to the railway track and the train running over him.  Next week he would have managed to untie the ropes and make good his escape.  We would also see people like Laurel and Hardy, Buster Keeton, and Charlie Chaplin.   Happy days.    
              Opposite the Palace cinema was a barbers shop run by two gentlemen called Emanuel.    A sign outside the shop said " Trust your hair to the Emanuel pair"
               Yes we all looked forward to Saturday mornings in Abertillery, and in the afternoon down the Park to watch the rugby matches.

                Wilf.
Haydn

A penny in the 30's! and by the 60's it was still only a tanner Wilf...just goes to show that inflation is worse these days eh? My barber in those days was Jack Nadals, I think thats how it was spelled, I used to hate being taken but I liked the Tommy Tickler and often fell asleep! I just had my hair trimmed the other day and it cost 18 euros (about 15 quid)!
Ian

What part of the 60's was this then Hadyn(or how old are you?) I remember paying a tanner to get in the pictures to watch what would have been re runs of the likes hop along cassidy & captain marvel, I also used Jack Nadal's for haircuts,this would have been more towards the end of the 60's.
martyn142

It may be common knowledge but it is worth mentioning that Jack Nadal fought in the Spanish Civil War for the Royalists against Franco.
Haydn

Ian wrote:
What part of the 60's was this then Hadyn(or how old are you?) I remember paying a tanner to get in the pictures to watch what would have been re runs of the likes hop along cassidy & captain marvel, I also used Jack Nadal's for haircuts,this would have been more towards the end of the 60's.

I was born in '54 so Im talking about, roughly, the mid 60's. The hero of the day was Rocketman! We all ran out of the cinema stamping on two feet in the hope we would take off!! Do you remember 4 kids getting up on stage at the interval to mime the Beatles songs? Alwyn Cuff always played drums (and still does apparently) I pretended to be Harrison but I cant remember who the other lads were?
Ian

Don't remember the Beatles bit in the interval,I was born in 58 so perhaps this tradition had died out by the time I went there.Do know Alwyn Cuff but not anything about his drum playing,isn't a bit of  a photographer?   Very Happy
Carolyn

I was born 1950 and it was sixpence to get in. don't remember anyone singing the Beatles but maybe I was too old by then. I remember the shadows Telstar, apache and Albatross being played in the interval and lads copying the Shadows walk Laughing
Haydn

The last time I was in Abertillery was about 20 years ago. My nephew took me into the club where my grandfather, Nobby Ford, was a regular. There was a bloke plying the organ and Cuffy was playnig the drums! He remebered the miming at the Palace but couldnt remember me. Not surprising really it was a long time ago! I find it amusing how we can all define a particular period in our lives by what we were reading ( Beano, Dandy, etc), what we were watching (Ena Sharples, George Dixon, The WoodenTops!) or what we were dancing to. I was definately a Beatles fan...I even got mum to buy me a Beatle jacket from the COOP and for months I had a fake Liverpool accent!
Kids today eh? They dont know theyre born...... Laughing
jmbrighton

Re: The Palace Cinema

[quote="Haydn"]Saturday morning pictures was without doubt the highlight of the week for every boy I knew in my....

Hello – I’ve thoroughly enjoyed reading this forum, brought back great memories of the area and shocked to see some more recent images, are has changed a great deal since I lived in Wales {am still a valleyboy at heart}. A pic elsewhere of the high street in Llan was so different to how I remember it.

I was born in the Cwm and Abertillery, Ebbw Vale, Trinant, Llanilleth and Blackwood was my area, back then the river Ebbw was orange of course… anyone remember that?

Like everyone else my escape from the Industrial valleys was the cinema and reading the account here brought back huge memories. Are any of the cinemas in Abertillery, Blackwood, Ebbw Vale still open, or have they been demolished? Are there any pics online of them?

I Ebbw Vale they knocked down the old Astoria and built a Tesco store, meanwhile a cinema opened in the old Workmens club just behind, that still there? In the seventies it still had gas lights inside! In Ebbw Vale I can remember two cinemas still open, another two closed and demolished and one that was closed and stood empyty for years, the bus used to top nearby... Jones bus I think... there was a church opposite.

Meanwhile I remember the Palace in Abertillery, is the old cinema still used for something else like bingo? Or have they demolished it. Also what about the other cinemas, I can’t remember their names now, my Uncle lived in Six Bells and often took me as a treat to the Palace. I remember four cinemas in Abertillery, most closed during my childhood, apart from the Palace and another, and then of course make shift cinema below.

Later a cinema opened in the library, called the scala or studio, that still there or demolished? Anyone else remember it. It was the only cinema to allow me in at 15 to see THE EXORCIST and EMMANUELLE. The Maxime in Blackwood turned me away.

Is the Maxime or Capitol in Blackwood still open or they bingo or demolished?

I would love to hear from anyone who knows anything about them.

I shall be returning to the area for a week later in the year, I understand the trains are now operating along the valleys again, from Cardiff.

Phew – such a lot of fond memories.
Ian Jones

HI jmbrighton.
                      The cinema,s I  recall the names of were,
                     
                      THE GAIETY, THE (PAVI) PAVILION, THE EMPRESS,
                       AS YOU SAID THE SCALA, THE PALACE, AND THE MARKET HALL.
                      I DON’T REMEMBER THE EMPRESS BEING OPEN AS A CINEMA
                      BUT IT WAS STILL THERE ABOVE THE EMPRESS CAR SALES, IN
                      CARLYLE/BRIDGE ST. WE USED TO PLAY IN THERE WHEN IT WAS
                      ABANDONED.

THE GAIETY WAS DEMOLISHED AS WAS THE PAVI, THE NEW LLYMES CLUB IS ON THE PAVI SITE NOW.
THE EMPRESS BUILDING IS GONE, SO TO THE SCALA.
THE PALACE IS A CLUB VENUE NOW I BELIEVE.
THE GROUND FLOOR OF THE OLD MARKET HALL IS THE MUSEUM NOW.
jmbrighton

Ian's picture house response

Hi Ian

Thank you for your response, which is very helpful and appreciated. It doesn’t look as though there are many buildings left and I assume that the Abertillery I remember will be a very different one to what I will see. All the same I shall enjoy visiting the area again, it will probably be a culture shock to me because the Abertillery I remember was in 1976 and that is how I expect it to be, foolish I know.

So the old palace is a night club and will probably look nothing like I remember it unless of course they’ve retained the lobby area or has this changed too?

What I remember as a makeshift type of cinema built within the converted school/library has clearly closed, it was called the scala or studio cinema. Have they demolished it or is it standing in use as something else? I fear it has been demolished, a big shame as I seem to recall it was one of those old traditional Welsh valleys structures.

I shall nip along to the museum, that could be interesting and it is in what was the Market Hall.

Reading through this forum it would appear that the busy town of Abertillery {also Ebbw Vale} it would seem, is no more with shops closed and even pubs closed! I also read that a popular café near the bus stop has long gone too.

Elsewhere I’ve seen mention of a Wetherspoons pub, looked at their site and it makes no mention of it in Abertillery. I also spotted a listing through google for a pub called the picture house in Church Street and did wonder if that was a Wetherspoons as they have utilised old cinemas and put them into use as a pub.

Like you we used to play in the Capitol in Blackwood when closed, understood they were trying to do something with the building and now learn it has been demolished.

Again thank you very much for your response.
Smile
Carolyn

Hi Jim,

No doubt the picture pub is the old Palace cinema in Carmel Street it still has a church at the end of it.  We have been doing Google searches for a number of images, it is suprising whow many old images of the area can be found on the internet. The many incorrect spellings and information given make them very difficult to find unless you happen to stumble on them by accident and this often applies to some of todays advertising of towns and villages in tourist information and even estate agents.  The old palace was a bingo hall in 1976 but only the foyer remained pretty much the same, unrecognisable now as a pub.

BTW not only was the river red as you approached the bridge in Cwm the sky was bright orange from the steel works, I can still remember the acrid smell of the smoke now it left a funny taste in your mouth
jmbrighton

Carolyn wrote:

BTW not only was the river red as you approached the bridge in Cwm the sky was bright orange from the steel works, I can still remember the acrid smell of the smoke now it left a funny taste in your mouth


Hi Carolyn

Thank you for your response to my posting, which is appreciated. Interesting to read that you have been able to find images of the area through Google by using incorrect spellings. I’ve done several searches and have found very little, to my frustration. If you’ve a moment and have any tips then please do pass them on.

As I recall the Palace was running full time movies when I used to visit with my Uncle although I do remember it having bingo on certain days and then movies on others {almost certain of it}. Later it went to full time bingo and I do remember that.

I shall have to nip by when visiting Abertillery and try the pub, of course my memory of the entrance and foyer is as it was with posters and still from current and forthcoming movies… ah very nostalgic.

We lived a little further up from the bridge in Cwm, New Cwm Terrace {Newcombe Terrace?}. Oh I can certainly remember the smell from the steelworks and the glow from the furnaces. My Father was a crane driver there at the time. I used to love passing the place on the Jones or Red and White bus, different views on each service.
Carolyn

Try typing in Nantty-Gio-English Coal Mining ...on a Google image search  Laughing

You maybe be right I cannot remember the exact date it went to full time bingo certainly when Top Rank took it over.

I travelled though Cwm to Ebbw Vale every week sometimes more often than that in the summer holidays on jones bus to go swimming at the indoor pool in the leisure centre before Abertillery had an indoor pool.  sometimes we would stop off in Cwm as I had school friends living in Marine Street, Stanfield Street and River Row.  There is a bypass now but not sure if the bus service uses the bypass since no doubt they would stop off to pick people up in Cwm, it had not been completed last time I travelled over.  They had  regular and evening services back then, last bus back is at 5 o'clock these days which is of little use for entertainment or work if you don't drive  Laughing
Haydn

If anyone is interested to send me their email addresses I have accumulated a few pics of Aber. The Bush Hotel and the Jones bus stop opposite and next to the Cottonwood. Jones bus at the junction by the Midland Bank. Etc.
My dad was on the Red & White but I had to use the Jones bus to get to Ebbw Vale baths after the lido up the park sprang a leak and they closed it.
Last time I visited the Palace was a snooker and pool club and the foyer was the bar area with glass partitions to watch the players.
Carolyn

Re: The Palace Cinema

[quote="jmbrighton"]
Haydn wrote:
Later a cinema opened in the library, called the scala or studio, that still there or demolished? Anyone else remember it. It was the only cinema to allow me in at 15 to see THE EXORCIST and EMMANUELLE. The Maxime in Blackwood turned me away.

Phew – such a lot of fond memories.


The old Scala cinema former library and Church school was demolished years ago in the 80's or even earlier.  There is a photo of the old school in the last Abertillery book in the Schooldays chapter page 105.  The Six Bells junior school photo link posted on the "Where are They Now" section of this forum by Haydn is on the next page of the same book, page 106 Look Back at Old Abertillery and Six Bells
M.J.D.

THE PALACE CINEMA

My Girlfriend later to become my wife worked in the Palace cinema.
 Here is a photo taken in the lobby about 1960.
My late wife is in the centre of the photo.
  Do you remember any of the staff.
roseann

hi carolyn i would like to n0 if you went to cum duffryn s

c
jmbrighton wrote:
Carolyn wrote:

BTW not only was the river red as you approached the bridge in Cwm the sky was bright orange from the steel works, I can still remember the acrid smell of the smoke now it left a funny taste in your mouth


Hi Carolyn

Thank you for your response to my posting, which is appreciated. Interesting to read that you have been able to find images of the area through Google by using incorrect spellings. I’ve done several searches and have found very little, to my frustration. If you’ve a moment and have any tips then please do pass them on.

As I recall the Palace was running full time movies when I used to visit with my Uncle although I do remember it having bingo on certain days and then movies on others {almost certain of it}. Later it went to full time bingo and I do remember that.

I shall have to nip by when visiting Abertillery and try the pub, of course my memory of the entrance and foyer is as it was with posters and still from current and forthcoming movies… ah very nostalgic.

We lived a little further up from the bridge in Cwm, New Cwm Terrace {Newcombe Terrace?}. Oh I can certainly remember the smell from the steelworks and the glow from the furnaces. My Father was a crane driver there at the time. I used to love passing the place on the Jones or Red and White bus, different views on each service.
pent boy

Palace photo

The girl to the right with long white coat on is Gloria Chapman who lived in Portland street and had a brother Clive.Not sure, but Ibelieve the girl behind her with headscarf on is Pat Crowdace also from Portland street,who had a couple of older brothers,one was Brian,who was always on a pushbike in his younger days.
Jim Nicholas

Abertillery Cinemas

I have just found this interesting thread. In my time, the 1930's, the Saturday morning pictures in the Palace cost a penny downstairs and twopence upstairs. The Palace changed their evening programme mid-week as did the Empress most weeks. the Pavilion was the leading cinema showing the latest releases. All charged 6p downstairs (2.5p in todays money) and 9p for the balcony but the Gaiety had no balcony - just a sloping floor with a higher charge for the upper part. The Palace had double seats in the back row of the balcony which was a real attraction for courting couples. There were always 2 films plus a newsreel and there were 2 continuous showings each evening without an interval.  All four cinemas were owned by Mr Seaburn(?) who lived in Cardiff and who also owned the Market Hall and collected the entrance money for the very popular Saturday night dances. All venues were closed on Sundays.
Jim Nicholas

1930's cinemas

One other memory has just occurred - when Wales played rugby the cinemas awaited the arrival by courier of a newsreel of the match which would be shown on the Saturday evening.
Nick

Re: hi carolyn i would like to n0 if you went to cum duffry

Hi everone


I can remember the red river “Bean River” we called it when we where kids I am not sure where it stopped being baked bean colored can anyone help?

I can also remember the red glow in the sky over Brynmawr as we come up the rock on a Saturday night in my parents old Morris 1100 (MAX 700E)

roseann wrote:
c
jmbrighton wrote:
Carolyn wrote:

BTW not only was the river red as you approached the bridge in Cwm the sky was bright orange from the steel works, I can still remember the acrid smell of the smoke now it left a funny taste in your mouth


Hi Carolyn

Thank you for your response to my posting, which is appreciated. Interesting to read that you have been able to find images of the area through Google by using incorrect spellings. I’ve done several searches and have found very little, to my frustration. If you’ve a moment and have any tips then please do pass them on.

As I recall the Palace was running full time movies when I used to visit with my Uncle although I do remember it having bingo on certain days and then movies on others {almost certain of it}. Later it went to full time bingo and I do remember that.

I shall have to nip by when visiting Abertillery and try the pub, of course my memory of the entrance and foyer is as it was with posters and still from current and forthcoming movies… ah very nostalgic.

We lived a little further up from the bridge in Cwm, New Cwm Terrace {Newcombe Terrace?}. Oh I can certainly remember the smell from the steelworks and the glow from the furnaces. My Father was a crane driver there at the time. I used to love passing the place on the Jones or Red and White bus, different views on each service.

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